The Belgian government has been ordered by the European Court of Justice to scrap labelling regulations for food products with added nutrients, which force manufacturers to note a serial number on the packaging, relating to the product and the company. Because the number does no more than inform consumers that the product has been notified to the Inspection Service and does not provide information either on the nutritional content of the product or on the inspections carried out, the ECJ has ruled that it is unnecessary and a hindrance to free trade in the EU. “It is not sufficiently useful…to be fully justified on grounds of…public health,” said the ruling.

By Keith Nuthall, correspondent